Singer Justin Bieber recently suffered facial paralysis that caused him to cancel several shows in a row. He briefly explained the condition to his Instagram fans. Here’s what you have to know about the disease.
The condition that Bieber was suffering from is called Ramsay Hunt syndrome. At the time, many reports claimed it was a very rare virus, but that was not true. In fact, this is the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles – two pretty common diseases. After you have suffered from those diseases, the virus lies dormant and can easily be activated by the following:
- A lower immune system
- Higher levels of stress
- Use of certain medications
Once the virus activates, you can get shingles or the syndrome that Bieber suffers from.
For people with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, the varicella-zoster virus might affect the facial nerve near the ear. This nerve is called the cranial nerve and controls the muscles responsible for facial expressions. The nerve has five branches that are distributed across the face. That’s why if you watch the video update posted by Bieber, you’ll notice that he’s having trouble coordinating the eye, lips, and nose on one side because the five branches are not coordinating.
Additional symptoms of the disease included:
- Painful blisters on the affected side
- Vertigo that causes the room to feel like it’s spinning
- Dry eye because of inability to close it
- Difficulty making expressions and speaking
- Trouble eating and swallowing
With early treatment, there is a high chance of resolving the issue. Usually, doctors will administer steroids and antiviral medication, and one should recover back to normal in a few days. However, if the problem is not resolved early, a patient can develop permanent hearing loss in one ear or even blindness because of eye dryness.